South Bye Southwest

Music journalist Andrea Swensson is skipping the Austin festival this year after attending the previous six:

[E]ach year, more and more celebrity-sized acts and corporate conglomerates seem to crash the party. Remember when Kanye West stole all the SXSW headlines in 2011 by setting up camp at a massive abandoned power plant and throwing a star-studded, Vevo-sponsored blowout? It hollowed out downtown Austin and led to paltry attendance at the actual festival’s closing night activities. On the plus side, I was able to waltz up to the front row to see one of SXSW’s biggest bookings of that year, Yoko Ono; on the downside, hardly anyone wrote about the iconic performer’s disarming set, or much of anything else the festival was presenting that evening. That stunt was on a scale that only a pop star like Kanye could pull off, but it signified a sea change that some attendees had seen coming for years. The extracurricular parties that happen during SXSW had outgrown and overshadowed the festival itself. And in this era of pageview-chasing journalism, which events do you think the media are going to cover: The fledgling band playing a tiny club on Sixth Street, or the celeb throwing the once-in-a-lifetime rager?

A writeup of last year’s fledgling XOXO festival here.

(Hat tip: Xmastime)